Set Ground Rules
Even if the mentoring plan is very unstructured, make sure that
both of you understand the limits in terms of time, contact and extent
of personal involvement. However you structure your relationship,
discuss and agree on things up front.
Clear Some Quality Time
Becoming a mentor will require a regular meeting schedule with your
new partner. This often means setting aside an hour or so each week to
either meet with or talk to him as part of the mentoring process. Take
the initiative to be the one to do this, setting a good example by
valuing your time with him.
One great way to start your relationship is to find some common
interests outside the office. Perhaps you both enjoy skiing on weekends
or watching football. Take the time up front to bond over these
activities, whether or not you chose to spend time doing the activity
together or not.
A true mentoring relationship involves interruption to your normal
work patterns. Be prepared for this. Sometimes, it may be impossible to
step in with advice at the time it is needed, but perhaps a phone call
in the evening will suffice, if she is having a problem and needs your
Even if your student makes major mistakes, help them to see the
learning aspect of even bad situations. Encourage them to read and
develop their job skills. Be a role model for them by doing this
yourself. Reinforce positive and constructive behavior.
Ideas and Issues
One school of thought suggests that it is optimal to have a mentor
who works in the same industry but at another company. Others believe
that being in the same firm is best. There is no rule that you cannot
have two mentors, though this will take more time. Try different
situations if you wish, but realize that the mix of your personalities
can make or break the relationship. Personality type tests are a great
way to assess your compatibility and will help you understand the other